A Manhattan grand jury has voted to indict Donald Trump on charges involving payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign to silence claims of an extramarital sexual encounter, the first ever criminal case against a former U.S. president and a jolt to Trump’s bid to retake the White House in 2024.
The indictment, confirmed Thursday by Joe Tacopina, a lawyer for Trump, and other people familiar with the matter who were not authorized to discuss sealed criminal charges, is an extraordinary development after years of investigations into his business, political and personal dealings. It is likely to galvanize critics who say Trump lied and cheated his way to the top and embolden supporters who feel the Republican is being unfairly targeted by a Democratic prosecutor.
Trump, who has denied any wrongdoing and has repeatedly attacked the investigation as politically motivated, was expected to surrender to authorities next week, according to a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to discuss a matter that remained under seal.
In bringing the charges, the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, is embracing an unusual case that had been investigated by two previous sets of prosecutors, both of which declined to take the politically explosive step of seeking Trump’s indictment.
In the weeks leading up to the indictment, Trump railed about the investigation on social media and urged supporters to protest on his behalf, prompting tighter security around the Manhattan criminal courthouse.
Trump faces other potential legal perils as he seeks to reassert control of the Republican Party and stave off a slew of one-time allies who are seeking or are likely to oppose him for the presidential nomination.
The district attorney in Atlanta has for two years been investigating efforts by Trump and his allies to meddle in Georgia’s 2020 vote count. And a U.S. Justice Department special counsel is investigating Trump’s storage of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida and his efforts to reverse his election loss.